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Invisible Tactics

After calling out all Milan fans on social media following the Genoa match, I was bombarded on Twitter with all kinds of replies. Some just offered hate, but that is not anything new to me. Others offered hate in the very way I described, aimed at only two targets. Some argued with me just to realize that they didn’t actually disagree. Still others argued points I hadn’t even made, but that is Twitter for you. However the most curious ones for me were the ones who claim that we were playing great tactical football ahead of this match. However none of them could explain exactly what those tactics were or why this squad rotation was so devastating to them (other than going back to square one and scapegoating Poli and Honda, of course.) So I thought I would open up the discussion here, where there are more than 140 characters.

Having players pose as assistant referees does not constitute tactics

Twitter is a funny place. But I know that, I’ve been active on Twitter daily for five and a half years, and I’ve seen enough to make me regret every single day of that time plus most of my life choices that led me here. So when I call out fans on Twitter or social media, I do know what I am asking for as well as the audience that will be receiving me. I didn’t do any of this to be popular, just to share my opinions. I am stubborn enough to keep putting my opinions out there, and I feel that growing up in such a large family as well as working with students with disabilities has equipped me to effectively deal with the children.

And when I speak of children, I think right away of the person with the account who gained all of his followers by spreading hate and misinformation and retweeting others’ comical brilliance. Don’t worry, I know all of you follow him, and yes, I do think less of you for it. I don’t fear retribution for saying this, because not only did he insult all of you reading this blog, but he lacks the attention span/ability to read this far. Plus, everything everyone says or does on Twitter is public. Well, except for the poor Tweep with the tiny ego who DMed me after our conversation while I was caring for my sick child, paranoid that I was tweeting about him. Awww… it reminds me of middle school. (Don’t worry, he’s since unfollowed me.) But as I said, everything is public, you only have to look at my timeline and notifications to try to guess how old these people are.

(Pauses while people rush to delete their tweets, unlike likes, etc.)

Probably flattering, but the pics of the mothers' basements are just too depressing

Back to the subject, though. The overall response on Twitter after the Genoa match was predictable. Many disagreed with me, claiming that Honda and Poli were the only reasons that we lost. And then disappearing when I asked if either of those two had actually committed the red card tackle or the own goal, let in the third goal, or taken the 13 shots, of which none went in. Although, in all fairness, some still argued that they were actually at fault for all of those things – you’ve got to give them credit for sticking to their guns. Even if their guns are just their fingers and their voices saying “pew pew.”

Some acknowledged that those two were not exclusively at fault, and certainly not for the red card or the own goal, but then went on to argue that their poor play contributed to/caused the loss and that the rotation of players was all wrong. When I asked people about the rotation, citing match fitness or potential injury as a possibility, given the close proximity of matches, most said that fitness didn’t matter or that Suso and Abate (can’t believe people were arguing for him, a week ago they wanted him gone) should have been rotated vs. Pescara instead. Which is laughable, that not only defeats the purpose of rotation based on the schedule, but Pescara at home is a much more winnable match, better to have a full strength squad. One fan acknowledged that Montella would know best about the fitness, but then went on to cite other players that should have been rotated, despite being completely unproven. Points for creativity there, especially if hindsight is 20/20.

Do please enlighten me the "masterclass tactics" this man has employed, I'm waiting...

But the ones that baffled me most are those who bought into the results by believing that we were playing great tactical football. None of them could tell me what those tactics were that won us all of those games, or even one reason we were playing great football. I gave them my opinions about why we weren’t, and have documented it here after every game this season. But since I have yet to see this “great tactical football,” I am hoping that some of you can explain to me what exactly that was. Especially the part that changed so drastically to cause a defeat like we saw vs. Genoa. Please, if you can, please explain what drastic alternate tactics Honda and Poli provided that skewed the original tactics so much. Do me a favor and use the comment section and explain it to me.

A very wise friend of mine who plays football told me after the Juve game that Milan were running on “adrenaline and history,” that we had “no business being in second” (as a compliment,) and then said “This isn't ownership or management at this point... it's a club running on adrenaline.” I honestly couldn’t agree more. Between the youth revolution (largely due to injuries,) a lot of grinta, a ton of luck (especially with ref calls,) and some individual brilliance, we got to where we are. But all of those things ran out on Tuesday as we faced a team desperate to win, in a stadium that is really tough. Certainly our previous successes were not from some earth-shattering tactics. Definitely not from Montella’s glorious possession-based tactics that he described so verbosely pre-season. But please, I’m curious. Please explain to me these “masterclass” tactics we’d been playing up until Tuesday, because I honestly haven’t seen them. And please don’t take the easy route and post others’ ideas or articles, I’ve probably already seen them.

This post inspired by the music of NIN’s “Pretty Hate Machine”

Our next match is
Milan vs. Pescara
Sunday, October 30 • 15:00 CET (10am EDT)*
*note the difference in time as European Daylight Savings Time ends, but the U.S. does not